Leadership Blog

Nov 27, 2023

Your Leadership Link by Cullen S. Gibson, Vice President


Good Habits for First Time Leaders

Years ago, I came across a story where a father received a call from his daughter who worked for a wholesale automobile auction company telling him that she had been offered a supervisor position managing a team of four (4) people. The daughter was excited and a bit scared, not being 100% sure she could actually manage and lead other people.  

That same father came across an article entitled “Habits for First-Time Leaders” and forwarded the same to his daughter. Here they are:

  1. Encourage success — Everything you do or don’t do should be wrapped in this question: Will it make my team more effective and successful at what they do?
  2. Allow them to like you — I am not talking about being best buddies, but rather I want them to say about you, “They are a great boss to work for.”
  3. Teach, don’t tell — It is easy to tell people what to do or how to do something and then expect them to do it right. Learning new things is hard. See this role as a teacher not a commander.
  4. Allow them to figure things outIf you give them the answers, your inner circle will become dependent on you. Help them work out solutions themselves. This might even mean that you will let them do things differently than you would do them.  
  5. Be compassionate You need to have a great deal of grace in helping your team members through rough spots.
  6. The bus — Place the right leader on the right seat on the bus. If you have a team member who is not performing or is poison, it’s time to start teachable moments or separate.
  7. Be honest— It is unfair to let someone keep doing something wrong because you are afraid to confront it. It is unfair to other team members. You have the choice to engage or escape.
  8. Be fair — Sometimes doing the fair thing is not really the right thing to do. For instance: The fair thing to do would be to promote the team member with the longest tenure. This may not be the right thing to do.
  9. Never believe a new policy, procedure, practice, or precedent will improve outcomes— When something goes wrong, there is a tendency to create a new policy to fix things. It may be a person or personality that is creating the drama. If the problem continues to rear its head, only then think about a new policy. You may have to separate a person from the organization to better things.
  10. Ask for feedback– We all like positive feedback. The hard things your team members shares with you will make you a better leader if you have an open mind.
  11. Always learn— Read leadership books and blogs. Spend time getting to know great leaders.